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People in Lichfield set to be affected by a high speed rail line have been urged to keep on fighting for the best deal.
The HS2 route will cut through parts of the city and surrounding villages and has met with widespread opposition from local residents and businesses.
Transport Secretary Justine Greening has told Staffordshire County Council transport chief Mike Maryon that HS2 engineers were looking at environmental schemes put forward by community forums to offset the damage the rail project would cause.
She also acknowledged residents’ frustration at the time it was taking to get information about the proposed new route, adding that “there is still plenty of time ahead to influence decision making”.
Although Staffordshire County Council has opposed the high speed rail proposals, Cllr Maryon has said residents must get the best out of a bad situation if the route goes ahead.
“The Secretary of State for Transport is imposing HS2 on Staffordshire in the national interest,” he said. “While we may not support it, if HS2 goes ahead it’s crucial we work with local communities and do everything we can to lessen the environmental impact.
“It is also an opportunity to press for economic gains, for instance by calling on Government to improve local rail services.
“We don’t want HS2 but if it goes ahead, we will fight tooth and nail to get the best deal for Staffordshire residents and businesses.”
The county council has appointed dedicated HS2 project manager Dean Sargeant to act as a direct link between community groups, local businesses and HS2 Ltd.
He said: “My role is to make sure local opinions are heard as we try to offset the environmental and social impact the project will cause.”